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Trillan writes | more than 9 years ago
I've started a personal site some time ago. Over time, I find I've been updating this blog less and less, and that one more and more. So I think I'll make it official -- this journal is dead. For future blatherings, see www.objectsatrest.com.:)
This is an odd sort of subject, so let me explain a bit.
Back ten years ago, my Aunt & Uncle (and their kids) returned briefly to Vancouver on their way to Calgary. They'd spend the last year or two in Africa. (Something I'd love to do one day.) Anyway, I remember that in the airport my Aunt sat down on a car bumper casually. After thinking about it for a few seconds, I realized that car alarms had only become popular since she'd gone overseas.
So now I'm wondering... what's new since September 2004? Am I in for any kind of culture shock?
True, four months isn't a year or two. But things are not only changing faster than ever, but they seem to be changing how fast they change faster than ever...
Believing in Open Source is one thing -- I've contributed code to LGPL and GPL (PILRC) projects, and I've even started a BOOST project (MorePalmOS -- the BOST license is similiar to BSD, but without the need for credit). But somehow, believing that the license that code is distributed under should be respected makes me an enemy of rabid Open Source advocates.
I've spent over 1,000 hours on my current product. If you value my time at BC's minimum wage, that's $8,000 invested so far -- counting only raw labour. (A more fair price would include at least part of my PC's cost, the development software I had to buy specifically for this project since the Open Source tools were not adequate, and the hardware I had to purchase specifically for this project.) By the end of this project, I expect over 10,000 hours of my effort to be focused on this project. That does not include testing, graphics work or marketing.
These people would have you believe that they should be legally free to not only use my product without paying for it, but also to offer it to other users for free or even sell it to other users.
Of course, the other side of life here is the natural disasters, which I'll group the police force in with just for simplicity's sake...
To quote one website: In 2000 a Brussels-based research centre declared the Philippines the most disaster-prone country on earth. It named typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, garbage landslides and military action against Muslim insurgents as just some of the problems both locals and tourists have had to deal with.
My wife and I went out today -- the weather really isn't that bad here, not much worse than a Vancouver, BC, Canada storm except it doesn't stop. A lot of stores are closing early to give people time to get home early. Schools are closed. It's a "warning 2" -- a class below the one that removed the second floor of the house my wife lived in a few years ago. According to one report, there's already 400+ dead.
Where am I in relation to all of this? Well, both Winnie and Yoyong have passed to the north of me, by maybe a few hundred miles.
Edit: Oh, I forgot to mention the police force problem. Link is here.
One thing I can't get used to here is how polite the employees at fast food restaraunts are here in the Philippines. Not just McDonald's, where people have to smile at cuomsters back in Canada or risk a reprimand. And it's not just a smile, either -- it's as if they're happy to have a job, and care about what they're doing.
It's something I think North Americans need to learn. No matter how lousy your job is, remember you choose to keep it. And if you face customers, don't let them see that you're not 100% happy.
Back home in the Philippines (home being defined by where my wife is, rather than my native country, citizenship or preferred weather) and re-installing some tools on my home PC....
I found this once before, but didn't think to blog it. This time I'm going to mention it!
For those of you who get to play with a lot of platforms but don't want to rely on cygwin for basic commands, check out this SourceForge project: http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/
It implements a lot of the Unix commands on Win32. There aren't any installation instructions, but I just expanded the archive in my Program Files folder and added the path of most of the commands (C:\Program Files\UnxUtils\usr\local) to my path environment variable. You may need to do more, since that's clearly not the ideal way to install it. What isn't clear to me is what the ideal way is (although I have a feeling it's to install the usr part of the tree to the root). But this was good enough for me.
I didn't bother with the Unix-like shell, as I'm not that much of a shell junkie.
I don't know why I didn't think to post this before. Perhaps because it's strictly an opinion thing...
If you're a fan of Douglas Adams, you're probably still as depressed about his passing as I am. But you owe it to yourself to check out Terry Pratchett's Discworld as well.
The series is actually several subseries: Rincewind & The Wizards, The Witches, The Watch, Deateh & Susan, plus a couple independent books. Which book should you start with? Well, other than not starting with one of the first two (they're okay, but not representative), it depends what you are into. Most of the books play off a phenomenon: Moving Pictures, for instance, off of Hollywood; The Truth, for instance, is based on the media (specifically, newspapers and tabloids), Wyrd Sisters apparently apparently appeals to MacBeth fans, but I'm still waiting for it in the mail...
If you haven't heard of Pratchett before and are looking for a recommendation, by all means ask. And if you *have* heard of him, please take a moment and tell me what your favorite book was.:)
I know this isn't especially insightful, but I just noticed my last journal entry was in late May. So I thought I'd post something, at least: I hate being here.
It isn't that I don't like the country, because I do. I think Canada is the best country in the world to live in. (I don't mean to offend you Americans, English or whatever. You're allowed your opinion, too!)
But I really realize now how miserable I am when I'm alone.
I've got six months of aloneness to look forward to at a minimum before my wife is allowed into the country. That's assuming, of course, that I don't go nuts long before then and go back overseas.
Official results are overdue for the latest election in the Philippines. I don't really care who wins, as long as it is someone who won't work up a hatred of Caucasians, or Americans in particular. (Not that I'm American, but anyone gullible enough to buy that Americans need to be abused on the streets probably won't stop to check. Not that my own personal safety is my only concern, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't one at all.)
Some would call working from overseas like I'll probably do "outsourcing." It's a pretty lousy name, though, IMO. Temporary relocation? I don't know what a fair name would be...
This is going to be a much shorter version of what I had here before it vanished for no particular reason...
According to many, the Philippines is a country in turmoil. Technically a democracy, they have huge problems with election violence and corruption. (Although it's worth pointing out that there are certainly countries with bigger problems in each category...)
So why is it a problem there and not here? How is it that a country largely shaped out of ruins by the US has such problems holding an honest, non-violent election? (Let's put aside the debate over possible corruption in 2000 in Florida; it might be true, it might not, but seemingly it's a fairly isolated incident.) What does the US have that the Philippines lacks? And it is not a question of the Philippine people being crazy or anything like that, because they're not. How is it that the Filipinos take elections so seriously and are so terrible at it?
I was in the Philippines this election on May 10th. (There's a whole story behind that which I'll probably get around to posting one day, but for now let's just say it was personal and had nothing to do with out-sourcing.) People died in that election; maybe not that many, but even though the fatalities were lower than, say, car accidents that day... the car accidents were accidents, and the election violence wasn't. (That said, CNN certainly sensationalized the election violence. I went to a polling station, and it was certainly calm. I went "home" and sipped ice tea while watching about the horror, the horror on CNN. But CNN spinning a news story to make it bigger isn't exactly a news story anymore.)
But I'm digressing. My question is this: What is the Philippines lacking that makes their elections so dangerous and corrupted? What particular check/balance does the US have that makes it different? Or is it something the Philippines has that the US doesn't that throws off the equilibrium so badly? Is it just a question of extremes? Is America going to see something similiar one day?
I hope nobody finds this insulting. I just want to know what you think it is... one thing Im pretty sure it's not is a fundamental difference between Filipinos and Americans. They're not a hostile people by nature.
Disclosure: I'm a Canadian, not an American. But you can replace "American" with "American or Canadian," or even "most of the Western world" in much of the above if you prefer, save for the bits about the Americans helping shape the current structure. And nobody is about to complain about that; whatever mistakes were made, they're better than what was there before.